So many great albums have dropped in the past year that I don’t know how to even make a list of the ones that I liked. How many can I list? Fifty? Sixty? More? Music blogs and magazines have already put out their top albums of 2013 lists. Some, such as Rolling Stone, have listed 50; NPR has 100 favourite songs and 50 favourite records; PopMatters lists 75 best albums of 2013; and many others have lists for every genre (tip: if you want to get a smattering of what was happening in metal last year, do check out Stereogum’s top 50 in that loud genre; I was happy when I took a peek there to see the only metal album of last year that I bought, Deafheaven’s Sunbather, was No.1). Read more
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Recommendation: If you haven’t watched the music critic and author Anthony DeCurtis’s more than an hour-long interview with Reed, there’s a link here.

For much of the last fortnight, I have been listening to Lou Reed’s music, re-exploring especially his and the Velvet Underground’s discography of the 1960s and early ’70s. But there’s been quite a bit of new music on my playlist too. Here’s a listing in no particular order. Read more

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Around 10 days back, my colleague in London mailed me a link with a short note that simply said “Yes they are back! And I can die in peace”. The link was to a lyric video (the kind where you can read the lyrics while listening to the song) of The Rolling Stones’ latest new single, Doom And Gloom. And the note from my colleague who’s obviously a huge Stones fan besides being an erstwhile (or, is he still one?) bass slapper himself, is an example of how much diehard Stones fans love the 50-year-old band. Read more

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Ever since The New York Times did a gushing story a couple of weeks back about his place, Emilio Vitolo’s phone hasn’t stopped ringing. Salubrious isn’t a word you’d use to describe New York’s East Houston Street around where it intersects with Mott Street. Neither would you call it tony or elegant. Far from it. There is a kind of perpetual pattern about the construction that happens to take place around the area. Large trucks, big men with hard hats, scaffoldings, and paint cans…. All of this is ubiquitous around that stretch of E Houston. Not exactly a place where you’d expect star musicians to hang out. Read more

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One simple rule: when the editor of a magazine drops a subtle hint to a columnist, he better heed it. So when the editor of Brunch handed me a CD she had bought on a recent trip to the US, I got the hint. Translated into words, that gift of a CD obviously meant: “Here, listen to this. Your columns are getting too obscure!” The CD she gave me was a re-issued decade-old album by a musician of whom I had never heard, Stephane Wrembel. I am glad that I wasted no time in listening to Wrembel’s album (Introducing Stephane Wrembel 2001). Read more

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March has been a bonanza for fans of the band, Phish. For not only did these kings of the jam band scene reunite after breaking up nearly five years ago, for those who couldn’t make it to their three-day marathon concerts (the venue was at Hampton in the US state of Virginia, after all), they put up the three concerts, held on March 6, 7 and 8, in their entirety on the Internet for free downloads.. Read more

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